Texas’ landscapes and ecosystems are changing fast, losing tree cover and topsoil, making it more difficult for wildlife and people to thrive without the protections and benefits nature provides. A remote network of visual and acoustic sensors placed across the state will act as eyes and ears, detecting environmental and biodiversity-related information like weather, water flows, and animal noises in the form of sound and imagery. By listening to birds and other wildlife around the clock, sound data can be used as a general probe of environmental conditions, helping us better understand the speed and degree of change in places undergoing rapid transformation of natural habitat across Texas. Bird behavior and presence can tell us much about the health of an area, especially when human activity clears more and more ranches, farms, and open space for new housing developments, shopping centers, and roadways. In addition to looking at birds, we will also look at new species of disease-carrying and causing organisms such as mosquitoes that are migrating northward. The project team will train citizen scientists to help classify project data and create easily understandable maps and models for use by city agencies, nonprofits, and other researchers.
Team: Tim Keitt (Integrative Biology); Preston Wilson (Mechanical Engineering); Anthony Di Fiore (Anthropology); Shalene Jha (Integrative Biology); Vagheesh Narasimhan (Integrative Biology); Deidre Zoll (Integrative Biology); Eric Abelson (Biodiversity Center); Dev Niyogi (Geosciences); Logan James (Integrative Biology); Kelly Pierce (Texas Advanced Computing Center)